TV Review: TNA Turning Point 2008
Reviewed by JuLian Radbourne
It’s multi-man match madness again, and this time we’ve got a feud between the veterans and the up-and-comers, as A.J. Styles challenges Sting for the World title at TNA’s latest pay-per-view offering, Turning Point, shown here in Britain on a three day delay on Bravo 2. It’s the usual broadcast team calling the shots, Mike Tenay and Don West.
X Division action kicks off the show, in a multi-man match to determine the rankings, featuring Consequences Creed, Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams, Jimmy Rave, Volador, Eric Young, Doug Williams, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Homicide and Jay Lethal. Thankfully, to win this one the wrestlers don’t have to climb through a hole in the top of the cage of through hoops or anything like that. It’s basically like a tag-team elimination match, fought under Lucha Libre rules, with the winner getting a shot at the X Division title. Now I’ve got that long-winded explanation out of the way, it’s on to the action, and it’s very good action, and although it’s a multi-man match, it’s a very good example of what the X Division is all about. Impressive performances throughout, with Doug Williams (naturally) and the Mexican Volador stealing the limelight early on, and after a slew of eliminations, including Homicide taking himself out by overshooting his dive through the ropes, it got down to Young and Lethal, with Young getting the win with a bridging suplex. A good match to start the show with, and, hopefully, we won’t have to put up with Super Eric anymore.
Then it’s on to women’s action, with Knockout Champion Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed, accompanied by Rhaka Khan, taking on Roxxi and Taylor Wilde. Now, I know I’ve said this countless times before, but this match is a good example of how much better the Knockouts are than their Diva counterparts. There were a couple of moments that almost went into the sloppy zone, but overall it was a damn good match. Kong was, if you can pardon the pun, awesome as always, and the other three Knockouts also did their part to make this match enjoyable, with Taylor getting the win for her team with a bridging back suplex.
Grudge match time next, with X Division Champion Sheik Abdul Bashir facing Rhino in a non-title match. Once again Bashir’s opponent is introduced by a former American serviceman, so I guess they’re still going with the anti-American angle here. Now, while the action in this one was good, it was kind of spoiled by the unannounced appearance of Scott Hall and the Insane Clown Posse in the front row, as both the wrestlers in the ring and the fans turned their attention away from the match and onto them, so I hope whoever let them do this got a severe telling off. As for the rest of the match, it was as good as it was before the unwanted visitors arrived, with both guys looking good, Bashir spitting in the referee’s face, and Rhino scoring with a slightly dodgy looking gore. Now if they’d only got rid of the clowns and the piss-head, then this could have been a hell of a lot better.
The action continues with the first title match of the evening, with Beer Money Inc, James Storm and Robert Roode, accompanied by Jacqueline, defending the TNA Tag-Team titles against the Motor City Machine Guns, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. It’s about time Shelley and Sabin got the title shot. This was another example of something that TNA does better than their main rivals. While this may not have been the best tag-team match I’ve ever seen, it was certainly a good example of what a good tag-team match should be, between two established teams who seem to view the titles they’re competing for as extremely important, and not just as a stepping stone to singles success. Sabin and Shelley showed just why they were voted TNA’s top tag-team last year, and I think I’ve said it before that Roode and Storm are also coming into their own as the heel tag-team you’d love to see lose. These teams looked like they were made for each other, and I haven’t seen the Guns look this good as a team since their feud to save the X Division from Team 3-D. Sadly, they didn’t get the job done. As Sabin rolled Roode up, Storm came back into the ring and spat beer into his eyes, giving the champions the chance they needed as they took Sabin out with their suplex/power bomb combination to get the title retaining pin to win a good match. One final point though – did Scott Hall remain at ringside in the hope that he’d be able to get a few brews of James Storm?
The title action continues with Booker T, accompanied by Sharmell, defends his new Legends title against Christian Cage, with the stipulation that if Cage loses, he has to join the Main Event Mafia. Sadly, it seems that Booker’s faux English accent and his lavish cloaks have returned, so now he’s a king without a throne. A good back-and-forth encounter between the two veterans, nothing to flashy but enough to hold my attention, with Booker once again proving that he’s better as a heel, with Cage the perfect foil for his antics, as he attempted to escape the clutches of the new evil faction. This was one of those matches were you really couldn’t tell who was going to win, until the end, that is, until Booker got the pin, after reversing Cage’s roll-up attempt with a roll-up of his own to get the win, welcoming Cage to his group afterwards. Good stuff.
Then it’s on to the falls count anywhere match, with Kurt Angle facing Abyss. If you were expecting a technical classic here, you would have been disappointed. This was nothing more than a fight, and a damn good one at that, that took in the entire Impact Zone, including the monthly brawl through the fans. Well, that’s become a staple part of the show now, hasn’t it? Angle once again proved (haven’t I used this sort of line already) that he’s one of the top men in the game, and Abyss proved that he’s one of the top big men, as they were able to put together a brawl that had the fans in the palms of their hands from beginning to end. It was your classic big man v smaller man brawl, with Angle going all out to destroy the monster, and wondering what he can do to put him away after throwing everything at him. Eventually the Olympian did find a way of defeating the monster. After climbing up a scaffold platform to escape the onslaught, Abyss followed him up there, and was about to press slam him through the Spanish announcer’s table (boy, that hasn’t been done before) when Angle countered and pushed him off the platform and through the table. A great way to end a hell of a contest.
Revenge time next, with Samoa Joe taking on the man who cost him the TNA title, Kevin Nash. I really didn’t have high hopes for this one, but I have to admit it was better than I thought it would be. Joe was, as always, Joe, one of the best wrestlers on the planet at the moment, and Nash was his usual, slow, plodding, methodical self. There were a couple of times when he didn’t look too good, but given the onset of time and countless knee operations I suppose that’s understandable. So while it was enjoyable to watch, it wasn’t a classic that will be remembered. Joe played the “will not die” role to perfection, as several head shots onto an unprotected turnbuckle and two power bombs from Nash failed to take him down, and when Joe tried to lock in an armbar, the referee got accidentally clobbered, and when he came to, Nash got the pin with a roll-up and an assist from the ropes. A lot better than I thought it would be.
Main event time, with A.J. Styles challenging Sting for the TNA World title. This was a back-and-forth encounter in this proverbial battle of the generations, and I was a little surprised early on that Styles matched Sting in wrestling holds, rather than using his high-flying arsenal. It was during this that I realised just what sort of match we were going to get, entertaining, slow to start, but one that picked up the pace as it moved towards the end. As usual, both guys put in solid performances, but this is another one of those matches that will probably be forgotten in a couple of years. No title change here. After hitting the spiral tap from the top rope, Styles was distracted by Kurt Angle and Booker T just as he was about to go for the second spiral tap. This gave Sting the chance he needed, rolling up Styles to get the title retaining pin, with his fellow Main Event Mafia members coming down to the ring to celebrate with the champion. A good, solid match, but not really worthy of a main event.
In conclusion – now take a look back through the matches of this card – apart from the X Division rankings match and the Angle/Abyss falls count anywhere brawl, all the other matches were just normal, run of the mill matches, without overblown gimmicks, and that was what made Turning Point a very good and very enjoyable show. There wasn’t one bad match here, proving that you don’t have to have guys taking crazy bumps all the time throughout the entire show. I really hope that TNA learn from this, and maybe we’ll get more and more shows like this.
Oh, and one last message for the TNA powers that be – if Scott Hall turns up again, please don’t give the guy a ringside seat! Wrestlers should only be seated at ringside if they’re going to be involved in the show somehow. A very unprofessional act on his part could have ruined the show. Let this be a lesson to you.
TotalWrestling.net would like to thank JuLian Radbourne from www.twoshedsreview.com for sending in this review.